Tourism (90)

Tourists are slowly flocking back to Namibia after the country recorded a national hotel occupancy rate of 39.4% in May 2022, latest figures from the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) show.

Acting Minister of Public Enterprises, Ipumbu Shiimi has announced the extension of the Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) board’s term of office on a temporary basis from 15 June until 14 December 2022.

Namibia’s tourism industry could be negatively affected by the listing of the country as a “high-risk” destination by America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The tourism sector is optimistic about its recovery as data from the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) shows an improvement in national occupancy rates at tourism establishments. 

According to HAN, the national room occupancy was recorded at 36.5% in April this year, relative to 27.0% over the same period last year. 

“This represents two-thirds of pre-pandemic occupancy rates,” said a Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) analysis compiled by FirstRand Namibia Group Economist Ruusa Nandago. 

The national room occupancy rate in April 2019 was 54.7%. 

“Encouragingly, visitors from Europe make up 47% of all rooms occupied – an indication of an increase in foreign tourist activity. The increase in occupancy rates is in line with the return of international airlines and increased flight schedules by most airlines operating in the country,” said the Economist.

In addition to flight schedules of Fly Namibia, Airlink, Eurowings and Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines has increased their weekly flights to Windhoek from 4 to 5 and TAAG increased their weekly Windhoek trips from 2 to 3 from the end of March.

Most visitors came from Germany, Switzerland and Austria (27.9%), South Africa (12.0%), France (3.6%) and Benelux (2.04%) during March 2022.

RMB added that the number of regional and international arrivals has increased, as indicated by the regional and international arrival index, which averaged 130% y/y in 1Q22.

“Barring any further waves of Covid-19 and travel bans, we expect that occupancy rates and tourist activity will continue to recover, with activity returning to pre-pandemic
levels in 2023,” she said. 

A slow recovery in tourism had resulted from Namibia’s low vaccination rates, global travel restrictions and new variant infection outbreaks among others.

Bank of Namibia has forecast a 4.8% growth for this sector in 2022.

Both hotels below and above 30 rooms recorded the highest occupancy rates in March 2022 at 45.3% and 39.1% respectively, followed by bed and breakfast establishments (39.0%), tented camps (28.6%), lodges (23.6%), guest farms (23.4%), guesthouses (19.1%), and rest camps (15.4%).

Gondwana Collection Namibia has announced the launch of its new transfer business, Go2 Traveller Transfers, which will now service nine transfer routes, covering Namibia’s top tourism destinations.

The Hosea Kutako International Airport recorded the highest foreign arrivals in April 2022 since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak two years ago.

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NMR) reduced its losses from N$174 million in the financial year 2020 to N$97 million last year, showing a strong difference of N$77 million or a 44% improvement.

Holiday makers are expected to pay more in the coming months amid indications that local hospitality establishments may increase their charges to cater for rising cost pressures, research firm Simonis Storm has warned.

Namibia2Go has become the first car rental company in Namibia to add hybrid vehicles to its fleet.

 Namibia’s tourism sector is expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 according to RMB.

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